The Atlantic

The Ancient Origins of Dieting

Weight-loss fads existed centuries before Oprah and Kim Kardashian.
Source: Umit Bektas / Reuters

Diet dreams are splashed across magazine covers and blare from the TV, offering tips and tricks, that will, readers and viewers are promised, make weight loss easy and fast. Diet books making similar claims can be found at the top of the best-seller list without fail, every January. But, we explore the history of diets, before asking a scientist: Does anything actually work?

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